Another review, another fun fact about my reading habits. I do most of my reading while commuting to and from work. I've pretty much stopped reading at home in an attempt to slow the rate at which I fly through my reading material. This means, among other things, that I am usually reading while surrounded by people who don't know me... which would be ok, if I weren't such an emotional reader. So, if you happen to be on the Staten Island Ferry and you see a girl laughing herself to tears while reading a book... that's me!
I tell you this because the book I just finished, Can You Keep a Secret? By Sophie Kinsella, made me giggle numerous times. In fact, Ms. Kinsella usually makes me laugh out loud, which is one reason why I keep coming back to her writing. I've read all of the books that she has out right now, well except the ones written under the name Madeline Wickham, so you could call me a bit obsessed. It all started with the Shopaholic series for me, but that's a story for another day.
This story begins with our heroine, Emma, flying to Glasgow for a business meeting... her very first! (Did I mention she lives in London? As anyone who reads Harry Potter knows, reading a British accent is almost as cute as actually listening to one). After a totally botched meeting, during a scary plane ride home, Emma spills all her secrets to the cute American man sitting next to her on the plane... who ends up being a higher-up at her office come to see how things are going. And, well... it goes on from there to get supremely ridiculous and amazing and you'll just have to read and see.
Sophie has a knack for creating lead female characters that are hysterically, endearingly, real... but so awesome in their realness that you know a real person would never get away with being quite like her. Emma could've been me, she's 25 and working at her first real job and she has a boyfriend and most of her secrets are pretty typical of 20 something girls. She has a workout plan that she doesn't follow (don't we all), she's buys designer clothes at discount and second hand stores (yup, done that), and she actually enjoys drinking something called Harvey's Bristol Creme... I don't know what that is or what it tastes like, but it's embarrassing to Emma. Maybe it's like telling people that you drink wine coolers? Or Bailey's, straight up? Doesn't matter, because they're not really groundbreaking secrets to anyone besides Emma.
As I read, it was easy for me to inhabit the character of Emma. I felt like I connected to her, understood her problems with relationships, work, friends. Obviously all the quirks that a real-life "Emma" would have are exaggerated for comic effect, but hey, didn't I tell you I was giggling to myself the whole way? This book was exactly what I hoped for when I picked it up, and it put a great big smile on my face... while I was reading by myself... on the subway... where only perfect strangers could see me! :-)